Nutritional Information for Quinoa

Quinoa is considered a whole grain, but really a type of seed, that has gained in popularity over the years. It has a unique nutty flavor and can be enjoyed many ways. Quinoa is touted because for a grain is has more protein than other whole grains. One cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein! Not too shabby. Beyond protein, quinoa harnesses antioxidant properties and is a healthful whole grain for anyone to add into their diet. It’s also gluten-free and makes a great choice for those with Celiac disease.

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Benefits of Quinoa

Cancer Prevention Benefits

The research on quinoa and prostate cancer, along with other types of cancer, is limited in human trials. Some of the reasons why researchers think quinoa could be beneficial for cancer prevention and survival are due to its plant properties. Saponins are a group of compounds found in quinoa and other plants known for their ability to slow cancer growth. Quinoa seems to have several types of these saponins, suggesting they could be used to help prevent and treat inflammation. The saponins can target inflammatory pathways linked to cancer and slow them down or in some cases perhaps even turn them off completely. Quinoa is likely helping reduce cancer risk beyond saponins alone. The abundance of minerals, vitamins, fiber and other types of antioxidants in quinoa likely work synergistically to help reduce cancer risk. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) have convincing evidence foods high in dietary fiber help reduce colorectal cancer risk. They claim that other compounds in whole grains like protease inhibitors, phytic acid and phenolic acids, antioxidants essentially, can alter the way cells use their signaling, express their genes, and reduce inflammatory pathways related to cancer growth.

Men's Health Benefits

Men eating more whole grains in their diet may see a decrease in body fat. Many cancers are associated with excess body fat. Eating foods that can help keep the weight off are also foods that help protect against cancer. Nobody ever said “Gosh I am eating just way too much quinoa, I feel sick.” Quinoa is a great choice and filled with vital minerals and vitamins. It contains compounds like polyphenols (antioxidants) and phytosterols (plant-sterols) that have may help reduce cholesterol. Filling up on quinoa in delicious ways is a simple strategy to help prevent cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and may even help keep body fat from accumulating. 

Ways to Use Quinoa

  • Swap in any recipe that calls for a grain, such as in soups, stews, or salads.
  • Add to tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chilis.
  • Use as the base for a grain salad. Add beans, veggies, seasonings, and/ or fruit.
  • Make into a morning porridge by adding unsweetened plant-based milk, nuts/ seeds, and fruit.
  • Use quinoa flour in baked goods or try using quinoa in a homemade veggie burger.
Resources for Quinoa

American Institute for Cancer Research: www.aicr.org

“Foods that Fight Cancer” from AICR: Whole Grains

Nutrition Facts: www.nutritionfacts.org

Physicians Committee: www.pcrm.org

USDA Nutrient Database: Quinoa

Citations
  1. Adom K, Liu R. Antioxidant activity of grains. J Agric Food Chem. 2002;50(21):6182-7.
  2. Abugoch James LE. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.): composition, chemistry, nutritional, and functional properties. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2009;58:1-31.
  3. Johnsen N, Frederiksen K, Christensen J, et al. Whole-grain products and whole-grain types are associated with lower all-cause and cause-specific mortality in the Scandinavian HELGA cohort. Br J Nutr. 2015;114(4):608-23.
  4. Maradini Filho AM, Pirozi MR, Da Silva Borges JT, et al.  Quinoa: Nutritional, Functional and Antinutritional Aspects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2015 Jun 26 (published ahead of print).
  5. Tang Y, Li X, Chen PX, et al. Assessing the Fatty Acid, Carotenoid, and Tocopherol Compositions of Amaranth and Quinoa Seeds Grown in Ontario and Their Overall Contribution to Nutritional Quality. J Agric Food Chem. 2016;64(5):1103-10.
  6. Simnadis TG, Tapsell LC, Beck EJ. Physiological Effects Associated with Quinoa Consumption and Implications for Research Involving Humans: a Review. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2015;70(3):238-49.
  7. Yao Y, Yang X, Shi Z, Ren G. Anti-inflammatory activity of saponins from quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) seeds in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages cells. J Food Sci. 2014 May;79(5):H1018-23.
  8. Ye EQ, Chacko SA, Chou EL, Kugizaki M, Liu S. Greater whole-grain intake is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and weight gain. J Nutr. 2012l;142(7):1304-13.
  9. Giacco R, Della Pepa G, Luongo D, Riccardi G. Whole grain intake in relation to body weight: from epidemiological evidence to clinical trials. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2011;21(12):901-8.
  10. Karl JP, Saltzman E. The role of whole grains in body weight regulation. Adv Nutr. 2012;3(5):697-707.
  11. Pol K, Christensen R, Bartels EM, Raben A, Tetens I, Kristensen M. Whole grain and body weight changes in apparently healthy adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;98(4):872-84.

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